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Shipping line CMA CGM orders Boeing 777 freighters

Ocean carrier launched cargo airline in 2021

A CMA CGM A330 freighter. The company has also ordered Boeing 777s. (Photo: CMA CGM)

(Updated 10:55 a.m. ET, Sept. 29, 2021)

Ocean carrier and logistics services provider CMA CGM isn’t wasting time growing its startup airline. The third-largest container shipping line launched an air wing in February and on Wednesday announced it has placed an order with Boeing Co. for two factory-built 777 freighters.

Boeing (NYSE: BA) will deliver the aircraft in the spring of 2022, a CMA CGM spokesperson said.

The large, long-haul aircraft will augment CMA CGM’s existing fleet of four Airbus A330-200 all-cargo aircraft operated by leisure passenger carrier Air Belgium.

CMA CGM Air Cargo’s home base is Liège, Belgium. It currently operates scheduled flights to Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Dubai.

The company, based in Marseille, France, purchased the A330s on the secondary market from another airline.

The move into air cargo is a way for CMA CGM to diversify its logistics business, ensure capacity for its huge logistics arm, CEVA Logistics, and tap the booming air cargo market. Boeing and other industry analysts project air cargo to grow at a 4.7% annual rate, but the market is much hotter this year. In August, air cargo demand was up 7.7%, according to the International Air Transport Association.

CEVA has a blocked space agreement on board the aircraft. The company offers the same arrangement to other customers and says CEVA doesn’t get preference.

CMA CGM is using Groupe ECS as its general sales agent to help market its capacity, handle bookings and manage shipment processing for non-CEVA customers.

In related news, Lufthansa Cargo said it has added two 777 freighters to its fleet as it completes the transition to a single-aircraft type. It now has 15 777 aircraft in service: 11 of its own aircraft plus the capacity of 4 777s operated by DHL joint venture AeroLogic. One of the aircraft is a production freighter from Boeing and the other is a recently purchased used aircraft.

Lufthansa Cargo’s last MD-11 aircraft is making a farewell tour after 23 years. Its final rotations are between Cairo, Tel Aviv, Chicago and New York with the greetings “Farewell” and “Thank you MD-11” emblazoned on the fuselage. It will be retired after it lands at Frankfurt Airport at noon on Oct. 15.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]